I hoped my nervousness didn’t show. I was standing in front of a class of 60+ kids, waiting to talk to them about writing and being a writer. Many of them had seen me around school before. One of their classmates was my daughter, so I was no stranger. Yet, I felt strange. This was my first school visit, and I hoped my preparation would pay off.
I began by talking about writing in general, and then I spoke about my own writing journey. They were able to see samples of my work, from the newsletters I started with, to the colorful magazines I still contributed to, to my brand new nonfiction picture book, my first published book. The kids were very attentive. The listened in silence, asked questions at the appropriate time, and were very enthused about the bookmarks I handed out. Of course, the best part was the end when I had several students asked me to autograph their bookmarks. Weeks later my daughter was still hearing, “Your mom is sooo cool!”
The first school visit will always include some element of fear since a beginning author doesn’t know what to expect. But planning out a presentation, bringing samples that can be looked at, and handing out something the kids can keep, will all help make your presentation fun and exciting. I know I’ll always remember my first school visit. I just hope those kids will, too.
Contributed by Catherine L. Osornio